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Xerostomia Interventions

Angela Mansolillo, MA, CCC-SLP, BCS-S

February 2, 2015

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Question

What are some interventions for patients with dry mouth?  

Answer

Keeping the body hydrated is one of the most important interventions.  That is often a problem for some of our patients with dysphagia.  They are on thickened liquids as an intervention, and so their fluid intake goes down, putting them at higher risk for dehydration, which will further contribute to the dry mouth.    We have to have a plan for managing hydration.  Maybe when we put a thick liquid intervention in place we can set a volume goal: “We need to get this many ounces of fluid in every day.”  Maybe a program can be put in place to offer the patient liquids more frequently.  Maybe we work with dietitians to choose foods that have higher fluid content.  Maybe we allow some water under supervised circumstances.  This will depend on the patient's overall status.  Keeping our patients well hydrated and keeping the water in their body at adequate levels will help manage the dry mouth.

Reducing diuretics like alcohol and caffeine can help with xerostomia. Also, reviewing medications and talking with the physician about the patient’s medications can be beneficial.  Is there medication that patient is taking that is particularly drying and can we do something about it?  

Angela Mansolillo, MA/CCC-SLP,BCS-S is a Speech-Language Pathologist and Board Certified Specialist in Swallowing Disorders with over 20 years of experience. She is currently a senior Speech-Language Pathologist at Cooley Dickinson Hospital in Northampton, Massachusetts where she provides evaluation and treatment services for adults and children with dysphagia and is involved in program planning and development for inpatient and outpatient programming including quality improvement initiatives, patient education, and clinical policies and protocols


angela mansolillo

Angela Mansolillo, MA, CCC-SLP, BCS-S

Angela Mansolillo, MA/CCC-SLP,BCS-S is a Speech-Language Pathologist and Board Certified Specialist in Swallowing Disorders with over 20 years of experience. She is currently a senior Speech-Language Pathologist at Cooley Dickinson Hospital in Northampton, Massachusetts where she provides evaluation and treatment services for adults and children with dysphagia and is involved in program planning and development for inpatient and outpatient programming including quality improvement initiatives, patient education, and clinical policies and protocols.  In addition, she is an adjunct faculty member at Elms College Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders in Chicopee, Massachusetts.  Over the course of her career, she has worked in a variety of clinical settings, provided numerous regional and national presentations, and lectured at several colleges and universities throughout Massachusetts. 

Ms. Mansolillo received her Bachelor of Arts degree in communication from Rhode Island College in 1983 and earned her Master of Arts in Speech-Language Pathology in 1985 from the University of Connecticut. She is a member of the American Speech-Language-Hearing association and is a member of Special Interest Division 13, which focuses on swallowing and swallowing disorders.


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